5 awesome game lodges near Gauteng

Posted on 9 October 2023 By Tsoku Maela

If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, there are plenty of game lodges near Gauteng and now is the perfect time to plan a game-viewing trip. Winter is the ideal season to explore South Africa’s wildlife, as the weather is cooler and the vegetation less dense, making it easier to spot a variety of animals.

We’ve rounded up a list of 5 unique game reserves near Johannesburg that offer a range of experiences, from luxury safari tents to private game lodges, and more.

Also Read: 30 Best Things to do in Pretoria

1. Bushwa Private Game Lodge, Vaalwater

Embark on a thrilling adventure to the heart of the African wilderness at Bushwa Private Game Lodge. Perched high on a koppie amidst the majestic Waterberg Mountains, this luxurious safari destination offers breathtaking views and a malaria-free haven for nature enthusiasts.

Picture: Bushwa private game lodge/Facebook

Settle into one of their luxurious safari tents or chalets, each with private balconies and all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay. For a truly exclusive experience, book a night in their remote treehouse, nestled in the canopy and overlooking a tranquil waterhole.

Bushwa offers three unique accommodation options to suit every traveller’s needs. The main lodge features a bar area, dining area, various lounges and an exquisite deck and rim flow pool. The Safari Lodge offers four luxury units with indoor baths and outdoor showers and private decks. For a more rustic experience, the Rhino Camp offers tented chalets, rooms in the lodge and a loft area for kids.

Address: 67KR, Zondachsfontein Farm, Vaalwater, 0530

Contact: 015 793 0259

Also Read: The 20 BEST Restaurants in Centurion

2. Mongena Game Lodge, Dinokeng Game Reserve

Looking for an adventure that will take you up close and personal with some of the most majestic creatures on earth? Look no further than Mongena Game Lodge, where you’ll have the opportunity to spot the Big 5 on safari game drives and during guided walks in the African bush.

5 Awesome affordable game lodges near Gauteng

Picture: Mongena Private Game lodge gallery

Located in the malaria-free Dinokeng area, Mongena is a 4-star lodge that offers an outstanding bush safari experience for business and leisure travellers alike. With an abundance of wildlife, including lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, leopard, cheetah, zebra, hippo, crocodile, giraffe, all antelope species, warthogs, aardvark, brown hyena, aardwolf, and a wide variety of birds, there’s no shortage of game viewing opportunities.

Plus, the lodge’s easy access from the N1 and proximity to Johannesburg and Pretoria make it a popular day tour destination for guided game drives, guided bush walks, sunset cruises, and delicious meals at Tshukudu Restaurant and Kingfisher Restaurant.

But that’s not all – Mongena also offers a variety of other activities and amenities to make your stay even more enjoyable. Take a sunset cruise on the 28-hectare scenic dam flanked by the Pienaars- and Boekenhout rivers, or host a private function or boma dinner at the Fish Eagle boathouse venue. The lodge also features a state-of-the-art conference centre and a romantic wedding chapel, making it a popular destination for bush weddings.

And don’t forget about the lodge’s charming residents – the tame zebras, nyalas, and springbucks that call the main camp home. They add to the unique charm of Mongena, which is named after the Boekenhout tree, an indigenous species to the area.

Address: Rust de Winter Road D48, Hammanskraal, Gauteng

Contact: 012 711 8920

3. Tau Game Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve

Surrounded by jagged hillocks and the dramatic Dwarsberg Mountains, this destination is rich in history, with artefacts dating back to the Stone and Iron Ages still being discovered in the fertile soil.

5 Awesome affordable game lodges near Gauteng

Picture: Tau Game Lodge gallery

The lodge, built in 1995, seamlessly blends into its natural surroundings and makes use of local resources whenever possible. The main building boasts a comfortable lounge, bar and dining room that are semi-open-air and overlook a waterhole, attracting a variety of game. Breakfast and lunch are often served in the main building or on the lapa while dinner is served in one of our cosy bomas under the stars.

Easily accessible from Johannesburg, a 4-hour drive or a 50-minute flight, the lodge can accommodate up to 60 guests. Come and experience the beauty and wonder of the Groot Marico while staying in the lap of luxury at Tau Game Lodge, “The Place of the Lion.”

Price: From R11 620 per night for 2

Address: 2874 R49 Madikwe Game Reserve, 2874

Contact: 011 466 8715/7

Email: [email protected]

4. De Kleine Serengeti Game Lodge, Dinokeng Game Reserve (From R900 per unit)

Experience luxury and adventure at De Kleine Serengeti Game Lodge, located on prime land in the Dinokeng Big 5 game reserve. The lodge borders the Pienaars River on one side and the tar road to Rust de Winter dam on the other, providing guests with a wildlife bush experience right on their doorstep.

5 Awesome affordable game lodges near Gauteng

Picture: De Kleine Serengeti Game Lodge gallery

The lodge offers 10 luxury, self-catering 1-bedroom chalets, fully furnished and equipped with braai facilities, a fully equipped kitchenette, bathroom, and TV with selected DStv channels for your enjoyment. The lodge also has a family house with 5 comfortable air-conditioned rooms that accommodate a maximum of 2 people per room, each room has an en-suite bathroom, queen bed and walk-in shower with the finest amenities.

Take in the breathtaking views of the grass plains and the Dam with ducks, where game viewing can be enjoyed for most of the day without leaving the comfort of the lodge. The game includes eland, buffalo, kudu, ostrich, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, and a variety of bird species.

For those in search of the more elusive animals such as leopard, lion, and cheetah, guided game drives are available and it’s essential to book in advance. The drive takes about 2 hours, with snacks and beverages supplied. Self-drive is also available.

De Kleine Serengeti Game Lodge is part of the larger Dinokeng Game Reserve, situated only 45 km north of Pretoria, bordering the N1. This is a malaria-free region. Book your stay today and experience luxury and adventure in the heart of the African wilderness.

Price: From R1 050 per night (sleeps 2)

Contact: [email protected] or +27 76 252 1022

Also Read: The 20 Best Restaurants in Johannesburg 

5. Zwahili Game Lodge, Modimolle (Nylstroom) (From R2550 per person)

Experience the beauty and luxury of the African wilderness at Zwahili Private Game Lodge & Spa, located just 2 hours north of Johannesburg in the region of Limpopo. Situated at the foot of the Waterberg, this exclusive private game lodge offers a true African experience in comfort and style.

5 Awesome affordable game lodges near Gauteng

Picture: Zwahili game lodge gallery

The enchanting landscape of Limpopo’s bushveld region is filled with undiscovered mountain vistas, deep gorges, ancient rock art, clear streams and rolling savannah, all rich in indigenous plant life, birdlife and wildlife.

The lodge offers a variety of accommodations, including 3 Main Lodge Rooms, 4 Safari Suites, 2 Executive Suites and a Presidential Suite, each equipped with a balcony or deck with views, an electronic safe, complimentary tea and coffee-making facilities, a fully stocked mini-bar, hairdryer and heater. Guests can also enjoy the most spectacular sunsets from the extended timber deck and open-air boma or take a dip in the swimming pool.

Game viewings are conducted by experienced rangers and offer sightings of lion, giraffe, civet cat, caracal, zebra, blue wildebeest, eland, impala, rooihartebees, ostrich, gemsbok, waterbok, blesbok, kudu, bush pig, warthog, and numerous smaller antelope. For bird-watchers, over 400 species of African birdlife can be seen, including rare sightings of lizard buzzard and brown snake eagle. The world-renowned Nylsvlei bird sanctuary is also located nearby.

Price: From 8800 per night for 2 (40% discount  when you book less than 7 days before your stay.)

Address: R33 Farm 597 Tuinplaas Bushveld, 0437

Contact: 012 653 4340/ e-mail: [email protected]


Be sure to take a look at the 20 Best Rosebank Restaurants.

Did you know that there are a wide variety of places to visit in Johannesburg.

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